Any company or brand should treat social media in exactly the same way as any other marketing channel investment and demand credible analysis.
The key is setting the right KPIs. Establish what, exactly, the social media campaign is trying to achieve. Is it improved brand awareness, increased traffic to your web presence, a better reputation, direct sales through your e-commerce site from social media, or footfall in store? Social media can achieve all these outcomes and they all can be measured.
In the social media industry, many agencies are offering campaign evaluation based on the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans and blog posts. However, to achieve a notable impact in the online social realm, it is not quantity but quality that must be evaluated. Yes it is important to see how many friends you have on Facebook, but for a credible analysis, engagement should also be taken into consideration. How many people are commenting on your blog, talking with you on Facebook and @mentioning or retweeting you on Twitter – these are the measures that will ultimately deliver success in a digital campaign.
You can measure the effectiveness of social media activities specifically. There are a number of tools available. At Juice, we’ve invested to give our clients real time analysis of activity. At a minimum, this includes the ‘Buzz’ – how many times your brands or organisation is being mentioned online and how that compares with your main competitors; and ‘Sentiment’ – how positive are these comments – again, compared with your competitors. After benchmarking, you should agree targets to improve your performance in both areas. So, a mix of ‘real world’ KPIs and specific social media evaluation will allow you to measure your ROI. After all, unless you’re Twitter itself, you’re not in business to just get followers are you?